Stewart ST-2959A Multiband Radio

I found this Stewart ST-2959A in late 2013 at a local thrift shop.   This was quite a find, as it appeared to have been just taken out of the box (the power cord hadn't even been unwound, and the factory stickers and antenna hang tag were still on the unit!), and it was priced at $20.  After researching similar units I figure this radio was probably made between 1976-1977. It was also sold for years as Realistic/Radio Shack SW-100, Ventura 2959-2, and Rhapsody RY-611.

Despite its pristine physical condition, the radio has its challenges.  The band-selector control was stuck in position and had to be moved back and forth several times to loosen it up.  This is most likely due the radio's not being touched in over 30 years.  I worked on it a bit with some compressed air but it will take more to get the band selector to work well.  In its current state, I can tune in any of the FM frequencies but none of the AM unless I wiggle the knob and get it in the just-right position.  It does a fantastic job receiving FM stations here in suburban Chicago.

I am pretty nostalgic about these types of radios, as my very first shortwave-band receiver was a very similar Hanimex model. The rugged exterior means I can move it from room to room pretty easily, although using the front handles for carrying is kind of awkward.

The tuning range of the ST-2959A includes: AM 540-1600 kHz; CB channels 1-40; SW 4-12 MHz; TV channels 2-13;  FM 90-108 MHz (the "TV1" band goes straight into FM so there really is no gap at the low end); Air/Weather/Police 108-175MHz.  There is a tuning knob as well as an outer fine-tuning ring, but I have not had success using it, as it must be for the AM bands.

There is a telescoping antenna for the shortwave and FM bands, and a "direction finder" AM ferrite loop on the top of the unit.  On the occasions when medium-wave stations can be picked up, reception is pretty good and is indeed affected by rotating the antenna.  There is also a jack for an external antenna at the lower-left front of the unit, next to jacks for a microphone (for the PA mode) and an earphone.   Next to the dial we find a Signal/Battery meter.

The front of the unit also has an AFC On/Off switch, Radio/PA mode, and power switch.  Volume and Tone controls are also on the front.  There is a BFO control on the right panel of the radio, but since I can't receive shortwave with this unit I have not been able to test this feature.   The sound is great, coming from its great 70s-era 4" heavy duty speaker.  Audio quality on FM comes close to the GE SuperRadio.  

As with many things in life, they say timing is everything.  This unit was put on the thrift store's shelf while I was there on a busy Saturday afternoon:  I imagine if I hadn't been there at the time the radio would have been snapped up by another collector.  It pays to keep your eyes open!

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